Admissions

Academics & Majors

Zoology

College of Arts and Sciences

School of Biological Sciences
Offered as:
Major
Minor
Graduate program

Overview

Zoology is a broad field of life science concerned with the study of animals, including their behavior, genetics, development, evolution, and environmental interactions.

A major in general zoology provides a solid grounding in biological science while being flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of interests. The zoology major at WSU also offers specialization tracks for pre-medicine students and pre-veterinary students.

Featured courses - General zoology

Zoology is a broad field, so the zoology major is highly flexible. The general zoology option gives you a strong scientific foundation and plenty of room to explore and focus on what interests you most.

Here's a quick look at some of the featured courses. For the full program of study, see the School of Biological Sciences website.

Core courses

This is your foundation in biological science. These courses prepare you to dive deeper into any area of zoology that interests you.

Introductory Biology I and II
Principles of Chemistry I and II
Math for Life Sciences -or- Calculus
Organic Chemistry and Lab
General Genetics
General Physics
General Ecology
Principles of Organic Evolution
Introductory Statistics -or- Biometry

Zoology

Anatomy and physiology

Two from:

Principles of Animal Development
Invertebrate Biology
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

One from:

Comparative Physiology
Mammalian Physiology

Electives

Round out the zoology core with your choice of three zoology courses.

A few examples that might interest you:

Entomology
Invertebrate Biology
Biology and Management of Fishes
Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles
Parasitology
Ornithology
Mammalogy
Animal Behavior
Behavioral Ecology
Marine Ecology

There is far more variety and depth in the zoology program than we can list here. For the full program of study, see the School of Biological Sciences website.

Graduation requirements

See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.

Pre-veterinary zoology

The zoology pre-veterinary track includes the prerequisites for the WSU School of Veterinary Medicine D.V.M. program.

Some veterinary schools have different or additional requirements. Be sure to get specific information about any school you're considering applying to. (The pre-health advisors at WSU can help.)

As a zoology major, you can also take courses like these that will give you a head start in veterinary school:

General Genetics
Principles of Animal Development
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
General Ecology
Comparative Physiology
Mammalian Physiology
Rights and Welfare of Animals
Adaptive Strategies of Animals
Animal Behavior
Career Experience Internship
General Microbiology
Parasitology

Graduation requirements

Contact the WSU Pre-Health Advising Office and speak to an advisor before planning your courses. All students must meet degree requirements as outlined in the WSU Catalog in order to graduate.

Pre-medical zoology

Pre-medicine

The zoology pre-med track includes the basic prerequisites for most medical schools.

A few professional schools have different or additional requirements. Be sure to get specific information about any school you're considering applying to. (The pre-health advisors at WSU can help.)

Science prerequisites

General Biology
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Introductory Genetics and Cell Biology
Microbiology Lecture and Lab
Introductory Biochemistry
Physics

In addition to the science prerequisites, most medical schools recommend a series of electives. You don't have to take all of them, or even any of them, but they can be very helpful in preparing you for the rigors of professional school.

The zoology major's core courses include several of the recommended electives. And there's room to pursue more of them if you want to.

These science electives are especially recommended:

Human Anatomy
Mammalian Physiology
Comparative Anatomy

These non-science electives are especially recommended:

Calculus
Contemporary Social Problems
Human Sexuality
Psychology of Aging
Biomedical Ethics
History of Medicine
Professional and Technical Writing
The Biology of Women

Graduation requirements

Contact the WSU Pre-Health Advising Office and speak to an advisor before planning your courses. All students must meet degree requirements as outlined in the WSU Catalog in order to graduate.

Zoology facilities

Zoology students have access to outstanding lab facilities:

  • Owen Science and Engineering Library, the largest of its kind in the Northwest
  • The highly regarded Conner Museum of Natural History, which has more than 56,000 specimens in research and display collections
  • The Science Learning and Instruction Center (SLIC), a resource center for science majors that provides computer access, science software and videos, old tests, and other study aids
  • The 800-acre Hudson Biological Preserve at Smoot Hill, 15 miles from Pullman, that serves as a biological field station
  • The James Entomological Collection, comprising more than a million specimens of insects
  • A grizzly bear unit
  • Prominent laboratories researching fish genetics, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and animal behavior
Strengths of the program
  • Learn from zoology faculty who are world-renowned experts in ecology, genetics, physiology, and cell biology.
  • Work closely with faculty: excellent student-teacher ratio in upper-division courses.
  • Facilities include the Conner Museum of Natural History, the Ownbey Herbarium, the Franceschi Electron Microscopy Center, and the 800-acre Hudson Biological Preserve at Smoot Hill, 15 miles from Pullman.
  • A customizable degree: get a strong science foundation and focus your major on what interests you the most.
  • Opportunities to participate in faculty research: study in the grizzly bear unit and prominent laboratories researching fish genetics, reptiles, reproductive biology, and cancer cures.
Suggested preparation for incoming students
  • A good preparation in science, mathematics, and communication
  • At least three years of sciences and math in high school recommended
  • Strong reading, writing, reasoning, and computer skills
Scholarships and financial aid

A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.

For all students at WSU

Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.

To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:

  • Complete the University's scholarship application when you apply for admission so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.

More about scholarships and financial aid

For zoology majors

In addition to general university scholarships and other financial aid, WSU offers scholarships specifically for students in zoology.

Zoology majors are eligible for scholarships offered by the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences, including scholarships in the pre-health sciences.

Careers in zoology

Zoology graduates work as animal researchers, industrial hygienists, laboratory technicians, museum curators, technical writers, zookeepers, biotech researchers and business owners, professors, veterinarians, science teachers, physicians, dentists, medical technologists, and food inspectors — to name only a few of the most common options.

Zoologists commonly specialize. They may concentrate on a particular group of animals, focus on genetics, or pursue studies in animal physiology, structure, or cell biology.

A zoology degree provides excellent preparation for medical school, veterinary school, or graduate study in almost any area of biological/life science.